DELUXE TOUR OF GERMANY AND POLAND FEATURING HISTORIAN ALEXANDRA RICHIE
Featuring Asness Family Foundation Fellow of the Jenny Craig Institute for the Study of War and Democracy, Dr. Alexandra Richie, The National WWII Museum's exclusive 12-day trip explores Germany and Poland through the lens of the rise and fall of the Third Reich. Led by Dr. Richie—one of the world's foremost experts on World War II in Europe—the tour will visit Berlin's Olympic Stadium and Reichstag; sites of the Third Reich's exploits and atrocities across Europe at Auschwitz, Wannsee, and Warsaw; as well as stunning cathedrals and Teutonic castles. With full-time guides and historians to add depth and context to every stop and special guests with firsthand recollections of the war years, travelers will have access to a uniquely immersive historical view of Germany and Poland as they travel in comfort to some of Europe's most extraordinary sites.
- Exclusive itinerary designed by The National WWII Museum and Dr. Alexandra Richie
- Presentations from the Museum’s digital collections, including video and oral histories
- Special access to sites not offered on other tours, including a special farewell dinner at a historic, private home
- VIP events with the opportunity to meet people who were eyewitnesses to historic events in Germany and Poland
- Full-time logistical Tour Manager
- Expert local guides
- Roundtrip Airport Transfers (when arriving and departing on scheduled group tour dates)
- Inter-European flight from Kraków to Gdańsk
- Luxury five-star and deluxe four-star accommodations throughout the journey
- Private, first-class, air conditioned motor coach transportation
- Personal listening devices on all included touring
- Included gratuities to guides, drivers, porters and servers
- 11 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 5 Dinners, and 4 Receptions
- Free flow beer, house wine, and soft drinks with included lunches and dinner
- Personalized luggage tags and customized name badge
- Additional pre and/or post-hotel nights
- Private transfers
We’re pleased to assist you with additional services you may require, ensuring you a worry-free journey with The National WWII Museum.
May 7, 2024 - Day 1
ARRIVAL IN BERLIN
Arrive in Berlin and transfer to the Regent Berlin Hotel. Historian Alexandra Richie will be on hand to greet guests on arrival. Enjoy free time this afternoon before this evening’s welcome dinner and tour preview with Dr. Richie.
Regent Berlin (R, D)
May 8, 2024 - Day 2
After breakfast, a tour of Berlin begins at the reimagined and refurbished Reichstag building. The massive 19th century building was used during the German Empire and the Weimar Republic, and now by a united, democratic Germany (after being rebuilt in 1957). After lunch, the tour continues to the Topography of Terror Museum which has housed a permanent exhibition since 2010, when the cellar of a Gestapo headquarters was discovered and excavated. An open-air memorial was erected in memory of those who were imprisoned, tortured, and killed by the Nazis, and the site developed into a prize-winning documentation center. After lunch, visit the Olympic Stadium on the outskirts of Berlin. Built to host the 11th Olympic Summer games in 1936, the stadium was a prime example of Nazi architecture and design, and could hold 100,000 spectators. This evening is free for dinner and independent exploration of Berlin.
Regent Berlin (B, L)
May 9, 2024 - Day 3
Start the day at the House of the Wannsee Conference, a lakeside mansion used by the Nazi Party in 1942 as they formulated the “Final Solution” of the planned extermination of European Jewry. Stop for lunch in Potsdam, the capital of the Brandenburg state, which is only 15 miles from Berlin. Pay a visit to Cecilienhof Palace, the location of the Potsdam Conference of 1945, where Stalin, Churchill, and Truman met to discuss how to establish a post-war order. Return to Berlin for a guided tour of the Allied Museum located in the American sector of postwar Berlin. The remainder of the evening is free for exploration and an independent dinner.
Regent Berlin (B, L, R)
May 10, 2024 - Day 4
ARRIVAL IN ŻAGAŃ TO WROCLAW
After an early farewell to Berlin, the group heads to Żagań, a small city in Poland near the German border. During World War II, Żagań was the site of Stalag Luft III. It was from this camp that one of the most daring prisoner escapes took place, providing the inspiration for the 1963 film, The Great Escape. Around eighty prisoners escaped through tunnels underneath the complex. All but three were recaptured, and fifty were executed. A museum at the site of the former camp is dedicated to the martyrdom of Allied prisoners of war. After lunch in Żagań, continue to Wroclaw for the evening.
AC Hotel by Marriott Wroclaw (B, L, D)
May 11, 2024 - Day 5
WROCLAW TO KRAKÓW
Tour the city of Wroclaw, which was part of Germany until 1945, and was known by its German name, Breslau. Out of range of Allied bombers for most of the war, Breslau remained intact until the closing months of World War II. In August 1944 Hitler declared the city a fortress to be defended at all costs. The siege by the Red Army began on February 13, 1945. Soviet artillery and German defenses reduced the city to rubble. The Germans fought to hold the city for 82 days, but surrendered to the Red Army on May 6, 1945, making Breslau the last major German city to surrender. The city is now majority Polish and was a 2016 European Capital of Culture. In the afternoon, the group continues to Kraków after lunch.
Radisson Blu Kraków (B, L, D)
May 12, 2024 - Day 6
Start the day with a brief stop at Oskar Schindler’s factory, the site from which Schindler was able to save over 1,000 Jews from the Plaszow forced labor camp, and ultimately from death, as portrayed in the film Schindler’s List. Next, enjoy a walking tour of picturesque Kazimierz in Kraków’s Old Town, followed by lunch. A thirty-mile drive west of Kraków is the Polish town of Oswiecim, known to history by its German name, Auschwitz. The German occupiers took over this former army barracks in 1940 and populated it with Polish political prisoners. As the war continued, the Nazis expanded and refined the camp, imprisoning Jews from all over Europe or sending them on to their deaths at nearby Birkenau. The Martyrdom Museum at Auschwitz is a ghastly reminder of the inhumanity which humans are capable of. An evening on your own allows reflection on today.
Radisson Blu Kraków (B, L)
May 13, 2024 - Day 7
Explore Kraków, which was included on UNESCO’s first World Heritage list in 1978. Since the Tatar raids in the 13th century, the Old Town has remained mostly intact, making it the only large Polish city to escape the destruction of World War II. The tour day begins at St. Mary’s Basilica before breaking for an independent lunch in the Old Town Square. Rynek Główny in Polish, the square is known for its quaint cafés and excellent shopping. The afternoon includes a visit to the Wawel Castle, the seat of Polish kings for hundreds of years, and the gothic Wawel Cathedral, where Polish kings were crowned and buried for centuries. During the war Hans Frank, Governor General of the occupied Polish territories, installed himself in the Wawel Castle. Calling himself the “King of Poland,” he surrounded himself with stolen art including Leonardo Da Vinci’s Lady with an Ermine, and wielded his terrifying power over the population. Continue on a walking tour to Jagiellonian University, founded in 1364 by Casimir III the Great. Over the centuries, the university has educated some of Europe’s most respected figures, including Nicolaus Copernicus, Pope John Paul II, and Nobel Prize-winning poet Wisława Szymborska. Take a stroll through the university’s lovely botanical garden, which is more than 200 years old. Return to Old Town to visit Cloth Hall, which historically functioned as the main marketplace of the town. Board a short flight for Gdańsk this evening.
Sofitel Grand Sopot (B)
May 14, 2024 - Day 8
Poland’s maritime city on the Baltic Sea, Gdańsk was first mentioned in historical documents in 997. In its thousands of years of existence, this venerable port city has changed hands six times – the prize in a long game of tug-of-war between Germany and Poland. This morning, visit Westerplatte, the place where the Germans fired the first shots of what became World War II. On September 1, 1939, a German battleship paying a “courtesy call” on Danzig began firing shells at the Polish garrison here. After lunch on your own and the option to take a walking tour of Gdansk, visit the Museum of the Second World War. After ample time to explore the museum, your evening is free in the quaint seaside town of Sopot to enjoy dinner independently.
Sofitel Grand Sopot (B)
May 15, 2024 - Day 9
WOLF'S LAIR & MIKOLAJKI
Today, drive onward to Wolf’s Lair, the English name for Hitler’s secret, fortified Eastern Front command post Wolfsschanze. The failed 1944 assassination attempt on Hitler, portrayed in the 2008 movie Valkyrie (starring Tom Cruise) took place within the concrete complex. After lunch, visit the German command-and-control center at Mamerki. Virtually untouched since the war, this huge bunker complex is where many of the major decisions affecting the conduct of the war on the Eastern Front were made. Spend the evening in the resort town of Mikolajki.
Hotel Mikolajki (B, L, D)
May 16, 2024 - Day 10
Depart Mikolajki bound for Poland’s capital city of Warsaw. On arrival, enjoy time for exploration and an independent lunch in Old Town Square. Set out on a walking tour this afternoon, beginning at the 1944 Warsaw Uprising Monument. Unveiled in 1989, the monument commemorates the valiant and tragic attempt of the Polish Resistance to take back the city of Warsaw from Nazi troops before the Soviet Army entered the city. Visit the Mausoleum of Struggle and Martyrdom, located in a former Gestapo headquarters. Gather this evening for a reception at the Warsaw Uprising Museum. Opened in 2004 on the 60th anniversary of the beginning of the Warsaw Uprising, this museum includes a collection of almost 1,000 photographs taken by photographer and Olympian athlete Eugeniusz Lokajski, who documented the uprising before he was killed in an artillery attack. While at the museum, Dr. Richie lectures on the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and the Polish Resistance.
Hotel Bristol (B, R)
May 17, 2024 - Day 11
Spend the day exploring Warsaw, starting at the Genscher Cemetery, Warsaw’s largest Jewish cemetery with over 250,000 people buried on site. Many prominent leaders of Warsaw’s Jewish community are buried here, including Marek Edelman, a leader of the uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto. Continue on to the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews for a guided tour of the exhibits. The afternoon is free for lunch and individual pursuits. Drive a short distance outside of Warsaw this evening to Radzymin, the site of one of the last great tank battles of World War II, in August 1944. Explore the terrain with Dr. Richie who will explain the events of the battle and their consequences for both the Germans and the Soviets. The tour concludes at the private residence of Dr. Alexandra Richie, which was used as the headquarters for German General Herbert Otto Gille, commander of the 5th SS Panzergrenadier Division Wiking during the battle. Here, Dr. Richie hosts the group to a farewell reception and dinner.
Hotel Bristol (B, R, D)
May 18, 2024 - Day 12
DEPART WARSAW AND RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES
Bid farewell to Poland this morning and transfer to Warsaw Chopin Airport for individual flights back to the United States.
Asness Family Foundation Fellow, ALEXANDRA RICHIE
Alexandra Richie is the Asness Family Foundation Fellow at the Jenny Craig Institute for the Study of War and Democracy and is a historian of Germany and Central and Eastern Europe, with a specialization in defense and security issues. She completed her B.A. (Hons) in Political Science at the University of Victoria and went on to study at St. Antony’s College, Oxford, where she wrote her doctoral thesis, The Political Manipulation of History in East and West Germany.
Richie is also the author of Faust’s Metropolis: A History of Berlin, which was named one of the top ten books of the year by American Publisher’s Weekly, and Warsaw 1944, which won the Newsweek Teresa Torańska Prize for best non-fiction book of 2014 and the Kazimierz Moczarski Prize for Best History Book 2015.
She has contributed to many articles, documentaries, radio, and television programs, and is the Convener of the Presidential Counselors at The National WWII Museum. She is also a member of the Senate at the Collegium Civitas University in Warsaw, Poland, and the Władysław Bartoszewski co-chair of History and International Studies at the Collegium Civitas.
The Ritz-Carlton Berlin
The Ritz-Carlton Berlin is a 5-star modern luxury hotel located on Potsdamer Platz and is just a short walk from the Berlin Wall. The posh rooms feature flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, minibars, marble bathrooms, and 24/7 room service.
AC Hotel by Marriott Wroclaw
Housed in a redbrick building dating to 1875 and set around an elegant courtyard, this sleek hotel is a short walk from Wrocław Town Hall and the medieval Market Square. Bright, stylish rooms with wooden floors feature chic furniture, and include free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs, plus tea- and coffee-making facilities, and desks. On-site amenities include a sophisticated restaurant, and an indoor pool with a hot tub, plus a sauna, a spa, and a gym.
RADISSON BLU KRAKÓW
Within walking distance of Market Square and St. Mary’s Basilica, the Radisson Blu Hotel, Kraków, welcomes you with stylish interiors and conveniences like 24-hour room service and free high-speed, wireless internet. The hotel offers two on-site restaurants, a bar, a fitness center with sauna, and a beauty studio.
SOFITEL GRAND SOPOT
The Sopot is a famous spa and health resort located in the Tri-city complex of Gdańsk, Sopot, and Gdynia. The area boasts historic architecture alongside cutting-edge, modern infrastructure with convenient access to enjoy the enchanting scenery. The hotel offers two restaurants, a lounge, and the Grand Spa. Services include a concierge, 24-hour room service, limousine service, library, and air-conditioned rooms combined with the worldwide standards of the prestigious Sofitel brand.
HOTEL MIKOLAJKI CONFERENCE CENTER
Inspired by its picturesque, natural surroundings on Bird Island, rooms are designed with comfort and convenience in mind, and include airconditioning, wireless internet, minibar, coffee maker, and spa-quality bathroom amenities. The spa facilities include a relaxation area and a signature Sauna World with incredible views of Mikolajskie Lake.
This distinctive hotel is located just steps from the Presidential Palace, the Royal Castle, Old Town Square, Praga, and many other attractions in the capital. With art-deco inspired interiors, guests enjoy two onsite restaurants and bars, Bristol Spa and Fitness, and impeccable service.
“The tour was well-designed with every stop being important to the overall experience. The trip to Auschwitz was probably the most life-changing experience of the many fascinating places we went to.”
“My wife and I cannot provide enough positive comments for our tour's expert, Dr. Alexandra Richie. Dr. Richie was amazing! Her knowledge and analysis of the locations and events addressed during our tour made it unbelievably interesting for us. Additionally, Dr. Richie was charming, engaged, and overall, just an absolute delight! She is an amazing asset to the WWII Museum! Our tour manager was outstanding! She managed tour logistics very effectively. From the beginning until the end of our tour, the operation ran like a well-oiled machine! We experienced absolutely no logistical problems!”
—Katie B., Phoenix, AZ
“Guides were excellent, especially at Auschwitz and Warsaw. Having an expert on the subject (Alexandra) in nearly constant attendance made the tour better than we could possibly imagine. What a treat to have commentary by Alex to prepare us for what we were about to see. The tour management was also excellent. No issues with anything.”
—Kristen B., Los Angeles, CA
“A+ in every way. We feel so fortunate to have been on this tour with Alex who was absolutely second to none in every way.”
—Meredith G., Seattle, WA
“I cannot rave enough about the organization, the accommodations, and most of all, Dr. Alex Richie, who was superb. Our local guide, Barbara was excellent as well. The knowledge and information they shared were extensive and easy to understand. I cannot rave enough.”
—Hannah C., New York, NY
“Prior to taking this tour, my wife and I had taken several international cruises exclusively. However, this is the first time we have taken an organized international tour of this type. We both came to the same conclusion. This tour was by far our most interesting and enjoyable international travel to date. Based on our experiences during this tour, we will take future tours through the WWII Museum.”
—James D., Thibodaux, LA
“Everyone should take this tour, and that is not an exaggeration. This is such an important history to know about and experience in person. The expense is worth it because this tour is a life-changing experience. Take the tour while Alexandra Richie is still the guide. She is a true international treasure.”
—Ben F., Philadelphia, PA
“This was my second time on the tour / loved it again! The hotels are wonderful and each city offers a different and interesting addition to the overall experience… Both trips have been different and fascinating in their own ways! We had such wonderful guides and always something new to learn, experience, and think about. We had a great group of people to travel with, and it was a tremendous experience from start to finish!”
—Maggie R., New York, NY
“This was a thoroughly enjoyable experience--even with the very heavy subject matter. The flow of tour experiences was well constructed to keep our spirits up and appreciate all that we saw. It made us look inside ourselves and appreciate our country!”
—Daniel S., New Orleans, LA
“Wow! All I can say is ‘Wow!!’ This is a trip of a lifetime. Very well-organized and totally professional. I learned a lot. Alex and Barbara [the tour manager] are a wonderful team… If Alex organizes another trip, sign me up! Not cheap, but worth every penny. I plan to do plenty of others.”
—Richard W., Fairfax, Virginia